Region: Belgium

Mock-ups no proper notification of repackaged pharmaceutical parallel imports

In <i>PI Pharma v Novartis</i>, the Brussels Court of Appeal has expressed its views on the notification obligation of parallel importers of repackaged pharmaceuticals. It ruled that PI Pharma had not properly notified Novartis, the holder of the VENORUTON mark, when it provided a blister and a two-dimensional mock-up of the outer packaging, rather than an actual sample, of the repackaged pharmaceutical as it would be presented on sale.

04 March 2013

Unprotected products may be copied - but shop and website cannot be confusing

In <i>Cousins & Co v Melan</i>, the Mons Court of Appeal has confirmed that, where no IP right protects a product or service, unfair competition law may not be used to fill the gap. However, the court also confirmed that the related circumstances of the offer - here, the use of a similar website and shop - can be prohibited if they are likely to create confusion for consumers.

09 January 2013

No more dodging the bullet: Red Bull obtains injunction against intermediary

The Commercial Court of Brussels has held that Konings, a Belgian company which filled empty cans bearing the mark BULLET with energy drink, had infringed the trademark rights of Red Bull, the owner of the BULLIT mark. Konings was an intermediary acting on the instructions of a third party. The court held that, although Konings did not make use of the BULLET mark, it was nevertheless liable as an intermediary.

30 October 2012

AB InBev ordered to recall Jupiler Blue over colour mark infringement

The Commercial Court of Brussels has upheld a complaint by Belgian brewer Alken-Maes against the packaging chosen by rival brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev for its Jupiler Blue beer. Among other things, the court ruled that most consumers would select Maes beer from among the various beers available on the market on the basis of the colour of its packaging.

25 July 2012

Use of mark in educational competition held to constitute use in the course of trade

The Brussels Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal by Responsible Young Drivers, a Belgian not-for-profit organisation promoting road safety, against a decision of the Brussels Commercial Court in which the latter had found that use of the term 'Responsible Young Drivers' in an educational competition did not constitute use in the course of trade or as a trademark.

02 July 2012

Moët Hennessy successfully enforces Veuve Clicquot colour mark

In <i>MHCS v Anglia Import-Export & P Marchand</i>, the Brussels Commercial Court has granted protection to the registered colour trademark for the champagne brand Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. Among other things, the court held that use of a similar yellow-orange colour for a Spanish sparkling wine infringed Article 2.20.1(a) of the Benelux Code of Intellectual Property and Article 9(1)(a) of the Community Trademark Regulation.

07 February 2012

Difficulties of challenging lookalikes in absence of trademark protection highlighted

In <i>Coca-Cola v Vrumona</i>, the Court of Appeal of Antwerp has held that the rules on unfair competition cannot serve as a fall-back in the absence of trademark protection. Coca-Cola argued that Vrumona had copied the look and feel of its vitaminwater product, and sought to protect it under the unfair competition rules.

11 November 2011

Registered colour marks shown to be powerful tools

In two recent decisions, the Belgian courts have upheld a claim of infringement of well-known colour marks. The colour marks involved were the Benelux sky-blue colour mark used for Rizla cigarette papers, and Red Bull's abstract colour mark in blue and silver for energy drinks.

09 September 2011

Court annuls trademarks consisting of fictional brand of beer

The Brussels Commercial Court has annulled two DUFF BEER marks owned by Twentieth Century Fox. Duff beer is a fictional brand of beer in the television series <i>The Simpsons</i>. Arguably, it seems unfair that the owner of a trademark which is well known in relation to products from a virtual world remains unprotected against third parties which try to reap the benefit of the owner's investment.

16 June 2011

Amended ADR rules for ‘.be’ ccTLD introduced

DNS.BE, the registry responsible for the administration of the Belgian country-code top-level domain, ‘.be’, has made a number of amendments to its alternative dispute resolution procedure, implemented on January 1 2011. The main amendment is that ‘.be’ complaint managers now have the possibility to notify parties if an error has been made in a complaint or a response.

11 February 2011

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